Andy Warhol is one of the most influential artists of the second half of the twentieth century. He was originally born Andrew Warhola in 1928 in Pittsburgh, although there has been quite a bit of confusion about the actual date. According to his two older brothers he was born on August 6. His surname change from Warhola to Warhol was actually due to an error by Glamour Magazine who mistakenly published a drawing of his under the name Andy Warhol, leaving the a off his surname by mistake. No one is quite sure why, but from that point on he chose to use this new moniker and refer to himself as Andy Warhol. He died on February 22, 1987 at New York Hospital from complications following gallbladder surgery. He was reportedly recovering well before suddenly suffering a cardiac arrhythmia.
Andy Warhol is considered the founder and the most relevant figure in the Pop Art movement. After graduating from Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1949, he moved to New York and quickly began to gain fame as a commercial artist. He first began to have exhibitions of his works in the 1950s. He continued doing ads and illustrations and by 1955 was already the most famous commercial artist in New York. He was also one of the early pioneers in the development of a technique known as silk screening. It was this technique that enabled him to produce a series of repetitive images, and he then started to paint different iconic American images such as Coca Cola bottles, dollar bills, and arguably his most famous works, Campbells soup cans. He began by recreating cartoon characters and advertisements, although these early paintings were still hand painted and looked as such. His first solo pop art exhibition was in 1962. It was around this time that he founded his art studio The Factory. The Factory attracted many eccentrics and artists and he began to refer to them as his Superstars. He also began to make films in the 60s, and in 1965 he began working with the rock band The Velvet Underground, formed by Lou Reed and John Cale, and he famously painted the cover for the bands first album, also title The Velvet Underground. On June 3, 1968, Valerie Solanis entered The Factory and shot Andy Warhol three times in the chest, but he miraculously survived and resumed painting after a long recovery.
The 1970s saw Warhol being criticized for seeking rich patrons who commissioned him to paint portraits for them. Included among his most famous patrons are John Lennon, Diana Ross, and Mick Jagger. Just before his death in 1982, Andy Warhol was starting to enjoy a period of new critical success. While originally criticized for his commercialism, he is now looked upon as one of the most influential artists of all time. He is also famous for being openly homosexual at a time when this was definitely not the norm and was frowned upon by many in the society. Overall, Warhol is most famous for his pop art pieces and he is by far the most famous artist of this particular movement.